Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda

Fattoria del Colle

The Orcia DOC is characterized by such a natural beauty it attracts millions of visitors a year. Some are drawn by the region’s fantastic wine. Others by olive oil. Yet a portion of these “nature-lovers” are also sybarites who enjoy fabulous world class restaurants in their agritourismo and also “five-star” attention to detail in their rooms. These Orcia DOC lovers will find a perfect home at the agritourismo Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda. The agritourismo and its grounds and vineyards encompass 18 hectares. It is owned by the energetic Donatella Cinelli Colombini. A seeming Italian aristocrat whose family owned the winery, farmhouse, and castle-like “manor” since the 1592. Donatella graduated university with a degree in the history of Medieval Art, and could have gone on to be a lady of leisure in fashionable Milan or elsewhere.  Yet as her parents owned vineyards, she felt compelled to ...

Dinner and Visit at the Winery Sasso di Sole

Winery Sasso di Sole

It was quite a treat to visit the winery Sasso di Sole. Lorenzo was my host and gave me tour of this very modern winery which produces Brunello di Montalcino wine as well as Orcia Doc wines. The family has farmed this land since the 17th century. Though the owner was not present that night, his young son Tomas made a fabulous impression. Just ten or eleven years of age, he spoke English perfectly and was already very savvy about grapes and wine. After the winery tour, Lorenzo invited me to the modern tasting room for a very formal tasting of their wines, followed by a delicious dinner. 2014 Orcia DOC Rosso  100% Sangiovese: from younger wines. Fresh and vibrant.   2013 Brunello di Montalcino 100% Sangiovese: very vibrant wine with tart acidity and silky tannins. 2014 Brunello di Montalcino  100% Sangiovese: jammy ripe fruit ...

Wine Tasting and Lunch at Cantina Campotondo

Cantina Campotondo

Cantina Campotondo

Cantina Campotondo

The Orcia DOC as often described as having a rugged, almost wild natural beauty. This can certainly be said of the day I was greeted by our host Elena Salviucci, as she welcomed me to her home and winery Cantina Campotondo on an exceptionally stormy day. The Salviucci family was a pioneer in this region of Campiglia d’Orcia. The vineyards are located right between the mountain side and the valley slope. Elena, just 23, explains that her father Paolo created the winery in the year 2000. Today they produce 11,000 bottles a year. What’s most special about the winery is that the soil is mostly loam, sand, and clay but it is very rocky. It is beneficial that there is a great difference of diurnal temperature (drastic fluctuations between day and night). 2017 Tavoleto Chardonnay Elena begins the tasting with a Chardonnay, quite refreshing and delicious. ...

Visit to Poggio Grande in Orcia Doc

Poggio Grande

Pretty dark haired Giulitta Zamperini greets me at her family’s picturesque Orcia DOC winery Poggio Grande. Giulitta’s father Luca started this winery in 1999, though his grandparents have been making wine here for many years for personal consumption. Of course, every wine has a story. Luca started the winery because when he was young he worked in the city. Yet after 20 years he decided to return to his village here in Orcia DOC to be with his family. At first he made wine as a hobby and planted a small vineyard. But by 1999 he was producing one thousand bottles a year. Every year after that his production grew and he began to plant a new vineyard every single year. Today, the family has six hectares and they produce 30,000 a year.  Next year they will sell the quality level “Sangiovese Selection” with a new label. ...

Visiting Poggio al Vento in Castiglione de Orcia

Poggio al Vento 

Poggio al Vento

Poggio al Vento 

Our first stop on the undiscovered “magic road” of the Orcia DOC is the winery and agritourismo Poggio al Vento in the region of Castiglione de Orcia. This is a “farmhouse” in the romantic sense of the word as you can see in the photo below. This ancient structure, with fully modernized rooms, encapsulates the “romance” that many people have idealized of Tuscany for centuries. Charming and charismatic owner Roberto Mascellione greeted me upon arrival. Roberto is a pioneer of the region, and as a very young man bought this farmhouse and the vineyards with his parents. He began to market the wine and the farmhouse as an agritourismo (basically, a “bread and breakfast” in the countryside). Orcia is a newer DOC, having been established on February 14, 2000 by just ten producers. It is in close proximity to the older, more established areas ...
Poggio al Vento 

Winery Tour, Tasting, and Dinner with Valdorcia Terre Senesi

Valdorcia Terre Senesi

Valdorcia Terre Senesi

Valdorcia Terre Senesi

Valdorcia Terre Sensei is owned by Antonio Rovito, a very handsome and energetic man with incredible charisma. With his sea green sweater and Roman coin worthy aristocratic profile, he looks like a Milan-born millionaire. Though the Calabria-born Antonio spent many years in Milan, he worked as a hairdresser and then branched out into various entrepreneurial projects. When questioned why he decided to buy vineyards and a winery, he explains that he likes to start a new project every 20 years. It is a thrill to watch Antonio’s face light up as he shows me the vineyards, which have been organic since 1998. On this fall day, the grapes have been harvested and the leaves have already turned gold. Yet one can see that the vines are planted on steep slopes. One can bend down and touch the galestro soil, enjoying the sensation as ...
Valdorcia Terre Senesi

Overview of the Italian Wine Region Orcia DOC

The Orcia DOC

As a wine lover, you’re obviously familiar with the well-known wine regions and grapes of Tuscany. Regions such as Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and others have been famous for hundreds of years. Chances are you may not have heard of one of the youngest DOC regions in Tuscany, the Denominazione di Origine Controllata of Orcia. This DOC was created on February 14, 2000, so it is still very young compared to its more famous elder sibblings. Recently I had the good fortune to visit many producers in Orcia DOC and analyze the similarities, and the differences, between it and the other (primarily) Sangiovese-based wines of the region.

Rules of the Denominazione di Origine Controllata of Orcia

Like most DOC and DOCG regions in Tuscany, Sangiovese comprises the majority of production, but the Orcia denomination also includes white, rose, and the sweet, long aged wine called “Vin ...

Historical Attractions in the Orcia DOC

Historical Attractions in the Orcia DOC

The Orcia DOC region of Tuscany has a wild beauty quite unlike any other region. While the gorgeous natural scenery of sky, hills, and rivers might have visitors snapping their heads to take it all in, you will find many historical attractions to visit as well. One such attraction is the ancient “Castle of Vignoni” – San Quirico d’Orcia.  This castle was a residence of the Salimbeni in the 12th century and includes a tower and Romanesque church. The village surrounding the castle looks deserted, and there is a pleasant yet eerie silence about the area, especially on a chilly grey day. Another “must see” is the village of Bagno Vignoni, famed for centuries for its thermal waters.  This village is located in the Val d”Orcia National Park. It was a highlight of my trip to see this ancient Roman creation, ...

Tour Des Deux Rives Comes to NYC

Very exciting to see old friends from Bordeaux come to New York this week for a tasting of excellent wine from the various appellations. Nicholas Glumineau was on hand to present several vintages of Chateau de Pez in Saint-Estephe, Chateau Haut-Beausejour, and Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Herve Gouin was on hand to present Chateau Mouton Rothschild from Paulliac as well as Chateau D’Armailhac, and Chateau Clerc Milon. Cathleen Burke Visscher presented Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, and Chateau Lalande-Borie. Veronique Sanders was also presenting Chateau Haut-Bailly. Jean-Philippe Lemoine presented Chateau d’Yquem, the dry wine as well as two vintages of the sweet wine. Christian Moueix and Kassidy Harris presented an assortment of wines from the many estates including Chateau Hosanna, Chateau Certan de May, Chateau Bourgneuf, Chateau Lafleur-Gazin, Chateau Magdelaine, Chateau Puy Blanquet, and Chateau de Sales. The post Tour Des Deux Rives Comes to NYC appeared first on Wine Reviews: ...

Tasting Wine with Ricardo Arambarri of Vintae

Vintae Spanish Wine Tasting

What a fun evening last night at Aldea restaurant with the talented Ricardo Arambarri, CEO of Vintae. Vintae is a collection of different wineries all over Spain, even though the company is based in Rioja. Ricardo is a dynamic individual, speaking perfect English as he completed a semester of University in Austin, Texas. We started the tasting with the Atlantis Albarino 2017, very floral with a briny minerality that went well with the Spanish cuisine of Aldea. Next came the Bodega Classica Lopez de Haro Reserva 2013, 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano. This is a fantastic value at $17.99. Following this was my favoritte wine of the evening, the Bodega Classica Lopez de Haro Gran Reserva 2009, also a great value at $28.99. In the course of the tasting Ricardo explained that his goal was to make elegant, balanced wine – so you won’t ...

Meeting George Bursick of Maxville Winery

Tasting Maxville Wines in Chiles Valley

What a fantastic wine tasting and lunch today with George Bursick, Executive Winemaker of Maxville Winery. We tasted the wine in a very historic place, the restaurant at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan. I was excited to attend this private tasting because I was curious to try wine from Maxville Winery in the little-known Chiles Valley. The Chiles Valley was first established in 1840 and became an AVA in 1990.   The Chiles Valley is a sub-appellation of the Napa Valley nestled in the Vaca Mountains.  This might sound like a lot of geography before we get into the tasting, but geography is everything when it comes to wine. Most visitors think of all wineries being in the “Napa Valley” or in “Sonoma,” yet there are many different micro-climates in this region. Though I have never been to the Chiles Valley, after tasting these ...

Golden Bordeaux for the Holidays … and Anytime!

Golden Bordeaux

Golden Bordeaux

“Golden Bordeaux” Wine To Enjoy Anytime

One of my favorite wines in the world is the historic, yet always fashionable, “Golden Bordeaux” wine. This name describes both the color of this wine, as well as its “golden” stature in the world of fine wine. In this article, the name “Golden Bordeaux” will be used to describe a gold-colored wine from the region of Bordeaux, France that has refreshing acidity, delicious aromas that can include fresh peach, apricot, marmalade, and is off-dry. Though this article is making its appearance before the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays, the golden wine of Bordeaux should be enjoyed throughout the year. In France, for example, a chilled bottle of “Golden Bordeaux” wine is attractively displayed on ice and poured for guests as an aperitif as they arrive for a dinner party instead of the more commonplace Champagne. 3-star Michelin restaurants often pair ...

Experiencing the Wine of Carpene Malvolti

Experiencing the Wine of Carpene Malvolti

Fabulous lunch today at the glamorous Maialino restaurant in New York with Carpene Malvolti’s Domenico Scimone. Also present was importer Julius Angelini of Angelini Wine Ltd, which distributes the wine in the United States. Both Domenico and Julius were very energetic and enthusiastic about the sparkling wines we were lucky to taste, which included the Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore DOCG (with 15 grams of residual sugar and a very soft mouse) and the rosé spumante (brut sparkling wine) made from 85% Pinot Noir. Both wines were distinguished by their fine balance, long length of finish, and the way they paired so well with a red endive based starter salad, and a white fish entrée. Carpene Malvolti has been making wine since 1868 and the family is now on the fifth generation. The founder, Antonio Malvolti, not only founded the winery but also the oenology school ...

Italian Wine Tour Comes to USA

   The Italian Wine Tour Comes to the USA

For decades, if not centuries, Americans have had a love affair with Italian Wine. Italy recently visited New York and Las Vegas for the Italian Wine Tour, introducing people in the wine trade and journalists to the most exciting regions with an open tasting and various seminars. I was lucky enough to attend seminars for my favorite regions which included Chianti Classico, Moscato D’Asti from Piedmont, Prosecco (this seminar pairing the different wines with different types of cuisine) , Franciacorta, and Lambrusco from Emilia-Romano.

Exports to the USA continue to grow – for good reason. Italian wine offers great quality for the price. Moreover, there are so many exciting regions for Americans to explore. While most Americans have long loved Chianti Classico and Prosecco, it’s curious why more Lambrusco and Moscato D’Asti are not consumed. They are food friendly wines that are also delicious on their own. From ...

Tasting Cambria Estate Winery

Jackson Family Wines has another winner in the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Cambria Wine Estate. The 2015 Katherine Vineyard Chardonnay is the dream of the perfect “California Chardonnay” – buttery, vanilla flavors yet restrained and balanced. The secret is the barrel aging and judicious use of new French oak. Now the 2015 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir was very rich and vibrant with a slight transparent hue. The nose was very perfumed and the finish of the wine long in length and quite elegant. I could see pairing this with a substantial dish like Salmon and also risotto. The estate is owned by Katie and Julia Jackson, and located in the coastal Santa Maria Bench of Santa Barbara, where all the best wines come from. When I taste Jackson Family wines, I often wonder how they can deliver such great quality at an affordable price. These are two great wines ...

Cheeses of Europe rocked at #WBC18

Cheeses of Europe

As a wine writer you would think that my favorite session at #WBC18 had to do with wine. And yes, there was some fantastic wine around, but in actuality one of my many favorite sessions had to do with cheese, specifically an excellent presentation from Cheeses of Europe. Guests entered the room and sat down to a beautifully set table filled with exotic looking cheeses of Europe. They might look unfamiliar to people who only shop at large supermarkets and are accustomed to seeing, for example, cellophane-wrapped slices of American cheese in the cooler. Or a block of Swiss cheese. Luckily, one of the joys of living in Manhattan is the cheese shop near me, where I can taste and select different types of “exotic” cheese. Yet that said, I was amazed by the cheeses of Europe offerings. There were cheeses with a variety of different types ...